George W. Bush In New Orleans: Heckuva Job, Myself!
George W. Bush returned to the scene of the crime Friday, speaking briefly at a high school that had been flooded during Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. You will be astonished that his remarks were utterly devoid of self-reflection or regret. After all, why would he need to regret anything that happened in New Orleans? But he did say he'd learned at least one lesson from the decade following Katrina: We need to privatize public education. At least he didn't spoil the occasion by mentioning climate change.
Bush spoke at Warren Easton Charter High School, which is now a charter school, to praise the miracle of renewal that has swept through New Orleans schools, which were largely turned into charters after the hurricane. He managed to avoid any mention of his administration's multiple fuck-ups, but had a few fond memories, like sitting with some school leaders on a cruise ship and definitely not drinking with them while they planned the comeback of New Orleans. He recalled all the scenes of "our fellow Americans amid a sea of misery and ruin," and noted that while it was a time of "loss beyond measure," it was also a time of "commitment and compassion," which may have been what went on while he vacationed at his ranch and also spent some quality time eating birthday cake with John McCain:
I hope you remember what I remember, and that is 30,000 people were saved in the immediate aftermath of the storm by U.S. military personnel, by Louisiana law enforcement, and by citizens who volunteered. I hope you remember what I remember, and that's the thousands came here, on a volunteer basis, to provide food for the hungry, and to help find shelter for those who had no home to live in. There are people all around our country who prayed for you, many of whom showed up, so they could say they helped a fellow citizen who was hurting.
Yes, and we also remember how FEMA director Michael Brown had no idea there were dead bodies being left outside the Convention Center, or that people were stranded there with no food or water, until reporters asked him about it. Brown's own lesson from Katrina? You're on your own; don't expect the government to help you. That "you're on your own" attitude was pretty exciting to Dubya Friday as he praised all the nice things people did for each other -- because damned if the federal government was going to.
Oh, and Louisiana law enforcement did a great job. At least, the ones who didn't abandon their jobs (it was only 51 of them!) or murder people for being in the wrong part of town. And we assume some, as they say, are good people.
Bush went on to praise the "educational entrepreneurs" who have been the salvation of New Orleans schools -- a contested claim, let's say -- and urged the rest of the nation to start turning its public schools over to the tender mercies of the private sector, too. Like his brother Neil. On the upside, at least Bush didn't wish EVERY big city could have its very own Katrina, to wash away the detritus.
After praising students at the assembly for managing to stay awake, Bush said "In order to succeed, you have to set high goals." Like hiring an Arabian horse expert to head FEMA, we'd guess.
At least Dubya didn't unveil any new bathroom self-portraits. Those shower and bathtub views, and all that water, might have been triggering for the poor students.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.